_ So you have given some thought about whether to call a mediator for your case, but are still not sure about picking up the phone.  This article will give you some ideas about how to prepare for and make the most of that telephone call.

When you first call a professional mediator there are a number of preliminary things that you should expect, such as the typical intake questions of who you are and your contact information. You should be prepared to provide the mediator with the names and contact information of the parties as well as their representatives.  A good mediator will always perform a conflicts check, and if the mediator is also engaged as an attorney, the conflicts check will typically include conflicts from their legal practice (and that of their law firm) as well.  After that is complete, there are a number of questions that a trained mediator will likely ask you to help evaluate the appropriateness of your case for mediation, and what they need to know in order to begin the process of taking on an engagement.

_You should be prepared to talk to the mediator at the very least about the following:

  1. What is the nature of the conflict or dispute?
  2. What are the main issues, legal or otherwise, involved in the dispute? (This may include the other party’s issues as well).
  3. What are your goals for mediation, and what are the goals of the other party?
  4.  What obstacles or roadblocks might there be for having a productive mediation (including party dynamics or specific issues)?
  5. What will likely happen if the dispute is not resolved through mediation?
  6. What is the negotiation history of the parties, and where are the negotiations or communications currently?
  7. Are there any other issues not listed above, which would be important for the mediator to know in order to understand the dispute, or other accommodations that might be needed in order to address the parties’ needs?

If you and the mediator agree that your case might be appropriate for mediation, there may be one of several ways in which the other side to the dispute may be engaged. You may want to reach out to the other party or the other party’s counsel directly about engaging the mediator, or if it seems more appropriate, the mediator might recommend that they reach out to the other party directly, inviting them to engage in the mediation process. It is very likely that the mediator will be asking the other party many of the same questions above, in order to best assess how to move forward. 

In any event, being prepared for your first telephone call to a mediator will go a long way to making that meeting an effective one.


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